Monthly Notes

Green Notes (from this month’s Green Watch)

From the May 2013 issue of the Capital Research Center publication Green Watch:

The nominations of Gina McCarthy to run the Environmental Protection Agency and Ernest Moniz to run the Energy Department have brought cheer to “crony capitalists” hoping to make big bucks from “green energy” scams. As Tim Carney of The Examiner observes, the nominees would “increase government’s role in the energy sector with the cooperation of business.” Moniz is head of MIT’s Energy initiative, which has received funding from corporations seeking to make money off their ties to the Left, including BP, Chevron, Siemens, Duke Energy, and EDF. In the “partnerships” between such businesses and the government—including ethanol, solar, and wind projects, not to mention the “stimulus,” bailouts of too-big-to-fail corporations, and Obamacare—“government steers the ship, while business rows,” Carney complains. “Politicians and bureaucrats tell business what to do, and [some] business gets to make a profit doing it.”

Meanwhile, Chevron, EDF, Shell, CONSOL Energy, and other corporations have teamed with environmentalists at the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, an “independent organization” that will set performance standards and create a certification process for fracking in shale reserves in the Northeast. Among the participating organizations: the Environmental Defense Fund, the Clean Air Task Force, the Group against Smog and Pollution, the William Penn Foundation, and the Heinz Endowments (which have significantly funded fracking critics).

Dow Chemical, Nucor (the country’s largest steel producer), and the aluminum giant Alcoa have teamed in a group called America’s Energy Advantage, which hopes to block exports of liquefied natural gas. The companies want government to keep natural gas artificially cheap so they can benefit financially, but as the Wall Street Journal noted, they are playing into the hands of “the likes of the Sierra Club, whose real goal is to shut down all fracking in a way that would force Dow, Nucor, and Alcoa entirely overseas. Remember what Lenin said about businessmen [selling] the rope to hang themselves?”

In 2008, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute attended a “green investments” conference where (in Ebell’s words) “leading crony capitalists” from such companies as General Electric, Duke Energy, Dow, and Kleiner Perkins (Al Gore’s firm) “smugly explain[ed] how they were going to strike it rich off the backs of consumers and taxpayers with green energy subsidies and mandates, federal loan guarantees, and the higher energy prices that would make renewable energy competitive with coal, oil, and natural gas once cap-and-trade was enacted.”

Now, however, “green energy” is losing money even with all the subsidies and mandates. For example, the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) noted recently that the organization’s fund for “clean energy and technology” has an annual rate of return of minus 9.7 percent since 2007.

The solar panel maker Suntech—a Chinese company heavily subsidized by its government—closed its U.S. plant, despite receiving $4.1 million from the U.S. government, the Arizona government, and the city of Goodyear, Arizona.

Fisker Automotive, which taxpayers lent $180 million to build electric cars for rich people, recently dismissed 150 of its remaining 200 employees. It hasn’t built a car since July of last year, when its battery maker, A123 Systems (itself a recipient of $249 million in tax dollars), filed for bankruptcy.

The April 3 “Today” show discussed a poll on “20 widespread conspiracy theories.” “Global warming is a hoax, 37% believe that,” said fill-in host Willie Geist. “Wow!” said weatherman Al Roker. After “Today” laughed at people’s belief in Bigfoot, the faking of the moon landing, and the conspiracy to kill JFK, Roker reiterated, “37% said, 37% of these people don’t believe in global warming! They think it’s a hoax!” Newsreader Natalie Morales: “All these weather events!” Roker: “Okay, two words: Superstorm Sandy!” Morales: “Sandy? Right. There you go.”

Warmist beliefs have spread even among military leaders. The Boston Globe reported that Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, listed “climate change” as the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region. He said “people are surprised sometimes” to hear him make that assessment and that, in order to deal with the problem, “the imperative” is to prepare for the effects of climate change on the “massive populations” of India and China. “If it goes bad, you could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.”

Meanwhile, in the world of science, global warmers are frantic to keep gloom alive. Reuters reported on April 16 that “Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. Often focused on century-long trends, most climate models failed to predict that the temperature rise would slow, starting around 2000. Scientists are now intent on figuring out the causes and determining whether the respite will be brief or a more lasting phenomenon.”

Dr. Steven J. Allen

A journalist with 45 years’ experience, Dr. Allen served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Jeremiah Denton and as senior researcher for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. He earned a master’s…
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